Regina Marek
ESE Teacher Assistant
West Navarre Elementary School

Letter of Nomination
Our nominee works with a group of students most of us would consider challenging, and we might even wonder if we’d want to take on the tasks that she deals with daily.  However, when I see her interacting with these children she seems to have it all together.  She’s always ready with a hug for them first thing in the morning.

She deals with a variety of issues in the class she works with, ranging from emotional to personal to academic.  She always handles it with patience, and she seems to have a love and concern for these children.

There is a student in her class who seems angry when he gets to school some mornings.  He’ll come in not wanting to do what he’s supposed to, avoiding other staff members.  She approaches him, puts her arm around him and talks to him.  He will calm down and do whatever she asks.  It takes a person with a special touch to be able to work with children like this.  She has that touch.  She has the heart and compassion to make a difference in the lives of these children.  I’ve never heard her complain about her job, and she has told me she loves what she does.  Her students, and our school, are fortunate to have her as an ESE Teacher Assistant.

Administrator's Letter of Recommendation
Investing time in children is what our nominee does best.  If the stock market investors invested money as wisely in stocks as our nominee invests her time in children, the headlines of newspapers would read, “Dividends Reach Record Highs!”  As an ESE teacher assistant, our nominee makes monthly home visits, on her own time, just to get to know the parents of her students and to make it possible for the home-school connection to be strengthened.  She’s a single mother with children of her own, yet she still made time to attend the wedding of an emotionally handicapped student’s mother.   This is the same student who, in an episode of anger and frustration, smeared his feces on her face and neck.   When others around him, including his mother, were losing patience, she was the calming effect that deescalated the situation prior to his Baker Act hospital admission. She is able to handle these types of situations because her interpersonal skills are excellent and because she is always looking for ways to improve and develop her skills.  She is CPI certified, has attended Sailing for Success and a number of other in-service activities for behaviorally challenged students.

She brings in clothes for Brently and Dylan.  She finds time each day to have a quiet one on one conversation with Alex, just to make him feel important.  She makes sure she tells BW a joke every morning.  She tries to make sure Joey’s anger is defused before he leaves the cafeteria every morning.  This week, she made sure she found some time to spend with Lindsey whose mother died during the holidays.  She often spends her break time with students who need a little extra attention.

Our nominee works with a small group of students to enhance their reading and math skills.  She is always looking for ways to motivate them and new ways to instruct them.  If manipulatives don’t work, she sings.  If singing doesn’t work, she signs.  If signing doesn’t work, she dances.  She does whatever it takes to promote learning.

In an effort to make our school healthier and  more attractive, she began the Clean and Green Club. Every Friday, one can see her, along with a group of students, canvassing the school grounds for what the students now call “treasures.”  When they find something particularly interesting (like a toilet seat!), she makes sure they have the opportunity to share their find with administration!  In addition to the Clean and Green Club, she spearheaded a printer recycling program to raise money to purchase a three wheeler for an autistic student.  The three wheeler has been purchased, and the recycling program continues with her leadership.

Our nominee takes initiative to contact our local newspaper when something newsworthy is occurring at our school.  She writes thank you notes to community members and businesses who show support of any kind to our school.  She is a key member of our school’s Relay for Life team, working tirelessly with the team’s fund raisers.  She serves as the ESE department’s representative on our school’s PTO board.  Because of her dedication to our school’s entire program, there is no one on our staff who has more respect and admiration from her peers than our nominee.  Although she is an ESE teacher assistant, she is always willing to help wherever she is needed.  She covers lunch duty and bus duty.  She covers breaks for teachers and teacher assistants.  She is often seen waiting outside in the afternoon with students whose transportation is late.  She truly defines the ideal employee—one who does what she can, where she can, with what she has, always with the students’ best interest in mind.

Article, Pensacola News Journal, February 1, 2003

Editorial, Pensacola News Journal, February 7, 2003

Reception for Regina Marek for Selection of Winner for School Related Employee of the Year.